I'm spending money I suspect I don't have. But we're entering into the positive phase. Tessa's grandmother offered to buy us a washer and dryer. From scratch and dent, we ended up with a great set of washer, dryer AND pretty refrigerator. The kitchen walls have been patched and the plumbing/electrical resolved, and it will look very nice (when we can afford the rest of the cabinet plans).
We're having the floors professionally refinished. We knew they needed it. But choice quotes: "These floors broke our machine!" "These are by far the worst floors I've ever seen", said by an old man, who followed with "we can still make them look like new". He also included that that was the fastest he's ever seen a wall disappear. They've done amazing work, and it is stunning how much brighter and nicer the floors look even bare.
Once the awful grey paint is replaced by light neutrals, the big apartment should look even bigger. And even more so, I guess, when we get to have the windows replaced (which is Tessa's Dad's professional opinion of the day).
The building has soul, character, and great guts. I just hope that after we revive it from long years of neglect and abuse, it comes to love us too. Houses are like dogs, right?